Nov. 10, 1997
Bears Host Alumni and UC Santa Barbara
LAST WEEK: The California men's water polo team (18-5, 6-1 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play, ranked No. 5 last week in the Coaches Top-20 poll) continued its course in its bid for an NCAA berth with a 6-2 non-league victory over No. 7 ranked Pacific last weekend in Stockton. After the score was tied 1-1 at halftime, Cal outscored the Tigers, 5-1, the rest of the way to cruise to the 6-2 win. The Bears only have one more conference match, their final home contest Nov. 16 versus UC Santa Barbara. If Cal can defeat the Gauchos, it would have a 7-1 MPSF record and assure itself no worse than a No. 2 seeding in the all important MPSF Tournament Nov. 27-30 in Long Beach. The winner of the MPSF Tournament gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Dec. 5-7 at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. After this weekend, the Bears final regular season match will be a non-league contest against Stanford in the Big Splash, Nov. 22 at 10 a.m. at Stanford. Cal, who has outscored its opponents 240-132 so far this season, hosted all of its home water polo matches at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill this year due to the construction of Haas Pavilion on the Cal campus.
HEAD COACH STEVE HEASTON: Steve Heaston is in his ninth year as Cal's head coach with a 207-44 (.825) career record and three national titles ('90, '91, '92). Heaston has guided the Bears to NCAA titles in 1990, '91 and '92 and has been named NCAA Coach of the Year twice ('90 and '92). Cal's victory over UMass on Oct. 17 of this season was Heaston's 200th career victory.
NOTING UC SANTA BARBARA: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (ranked No. 10 last week in the Top-20 poll) are 9-10 overall (1-7 in MPSF play) this season and last weekend lost to No. 6 ranked UC Irvine, 6-5, and No. 3 ranked Stanford, 12-3, in Santa Barbara. Earlier this year, Cal defeated the Gauchos, 9-2, Sept. 20 in the first round of the Southern California Tournament in Los Angeles. The Gauchos are led by junior driver Ryan Peddycord with 30 goals, including four, two-point goals for 34 points.
BEAR NOTES: In the victory over Pacific, the Bears were led by senior All-American Brent Albright (Lompoc, CA) with two goals. Senior Peter Stern (Lafayette, CA), senior Jeff Moloughney (Mission Viejo, CA), junior Ryan Flynn (Los Angeles, CA) and junior Brad Kittredge (Santa Barbara, CA) each scored single goals and junior goalie Peter Kiefer (Pacific Palisades, CA) had 10 saves. Cal has shown outstanding depth this season with nine different players having scored 12 or more goals. Junior driver Phinney Gardner (San Clemente, CA) continues to lead the Bears in scoring with 35 points (one, two-point goal), followed by Albright with 32 points (three, two-point goals). Albright, a three-time All-American and the Sept. 29 MPSF Player of the Week, has been a clutch player for Cal this year. He made a four-meter penalty shot in overtime for the 9-8 win at UCLA Oct. 25, and has also led the Bears to two victories over USC this season. Albright scored with nine second left against the Trojans Oct. 12 in Los Angeles to send the match into overtime (Cal won 10-8), and he scored the match-winning goal with 1:19 left to break a 8-8 tie and lead the Bears to their first victory over the Trojans since 1995 Sept. 27 at DVC. Albright now has 171 career points.
NOTING CAL WATER POLO: Since the first NCAA water polo championship in 1969, the Bears have been in the national title match 17 of the 28 years, winning 11 national championships (1973-75, '77, '83-'84, '87-'88, '90, '91, '92). In the history of Cal water polo, the Bears have won 33 conference championships, 11 national championships and have had five NCAA Coaches of the Year, 13 Collegiate Players of the Year, 11 Conference Players of the Year, 134 All-Americans and 21 Olympians.